I might be coming across as insensitive. I might be alone in my way of thinking. But I am OK with that. I will comply and respect needed and or mandated protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to keep the public safe and calm. But what good does it do for me to remain calm when everyone else is going crazy?
Remember, the scene in the movie War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version) where he’s in this van with his children? He’s taking the kids to their mother, en route they come across a mob. Sure, he is scared but has his wits about him to try and save his children. Well, he may have been somewhat rational, but outside was mass hysteria and the mob swarms on the van, and well…here is a clip.
Remember the Twilight Zone episode-the bomb shelter? Clip
Panic-stricken mobs can be destructive. They breed fear. So, what have we to fear over this latest viral threat? Well.
Back in 1988-1991, my ex-husband was in the army, and our little family was stationed in Germany. Before we left for our new duty station at Landstuhl, Germany, there was a lot of tension around the world. I was fearful of going overseas. My marriage and my faith were being tested. My brother, who was also in the army at the time and stationed in Germany, had been witnessed to the bombing at U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) headquarters in 1981. He remembered the moment vividly. In listening to him, I was scared for us. Germany was still split. Watching and hearing of the Ramstein air show disaster in the summer of 1988 didn’t help my fear any. Hearing the news that Pan Am Flight 103 was was destroyed by a bomb, killing everyone – just fueled my worries about going overseas. My daughters and I were scheduled to fly out on December 26 (5 days after the bombing) if memory serves me correctly. So, you can believe I was a bit nervous about flying. When we landed in Frankfurt, it was a total culture shock. There were soldiers with big guns at every corner. I didn’t know how to respond. Everywhere we went, it seemed soldiers and police were ready for any type of attack. And cameras were already in use to catch drivers running red lights.
In that three-year tour, I learned a lot about Americans. I learned quite a bit about myself too. In those three years, I dealt with domestic violence, the threat of war, shortages, and fear. The most valuable lesson, I believe, was learning how far a man will venture into the dark side-without any accountability.
Fear or the lack of was the vehicle that drove Americans through the unknown, through uncertainty. Fear is the worst, most horrible emotional response. And fear is no respecter of people.
Fear is our body’s response to danger, real or perceived. We have this built into our system, the fight or flight response, when we are faced with some sort of threat, or find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. It’s OK, but it can also lead to irrational behaviors.
When we lived in Germany, the threat of war was always imminent, but it became real in 1990. My ex went on alert. Thank God he was never deployed, though a few of his coworkers were. Troops deployed, leaving families behind. Then that summer, a C-5 transporter crashed after takeoff from Ramstein. Nine Texans assigned to the 433rd at Kelly AFB in San Antonio were killed. That was too close to home.
During that state of war, I recall, no matter where we went, the mood was solemn. People were cautious if not fearful of public places. I remember being at the BK one evening with my girls. I don’t recall where they got balloons, but they each had one. One of the balloons popped. If you could have seen the look on people’s faces. I felt so bad. Everyone was on edge.
Living overseas, everything was different. And because we lived off base, we had to adjust to the local community. There were no conveniences. Many communities shut down in the middle of the day for quiet time. If we shopped on base, we were limited to what was available. And if we wanted something, or had to go to the commissary, we had to wait in line. We had no choice. If we wanted something different, we had to go on the economy. Germans were not very approachable, but they weren’t necessarily rude or standoffish. They were guarded. Family was a million miles away. Stateside phone calls were expensive. For families that lived on base, friends may have been close by. That was not the case for us, we lived off base, in a small village with one main street, and mostly Germans. My children kept me busy. I enjoyed living in Germany, but honestly, I could not wait to land on Texas soil. Also, I could not believe how many European countries we could travel to and still be inside Texas. That was cool!
The lessons I learned living in Germany, I didn’t realize until after we got back stateside, and some much later. Our first time out, we stopped at a convenience store to get gas. My daughters had never been in one, at least not that they could remember. They were still very young when we left for Germany. My daughter asked what kind of store it was and such, and I gave her a quick lesson. For some reason, she was really impressed with the product selection. Then she noticed the Hostess Sno Balls for $1. And she said, “Look, mama, it’s only a dollar!” I was horrified. A dollar! That is not a good deal, I said.
Returning stateside, we had choices. I didn’t have to wait in line – if I did not want to. And let me tell you, to this day I do not like waiting in line, and I don’t wait in line for anything if I can help it. Stateside, I didn’t have to pay unreasonable prices for things. In this country, we have so much convenience. We have variety. Living in Germany made me realize how blessed I was to be an American. But I also realized how spoiled and arrogant we can get, especially on foreign soil. We believe that the rights we have in this country extend to foreign land. And they don’t. I will never forget when my brother-in-law was determined to go into Poland to take a few pictures. We explained that American military does not just enter and exit communist countries without some kind of paperwork. He argued and argued that it would be OK. Talk about fear. I am looking at the border guards checking cars, papers and staring straight into this massive barrel of a tank. I am thinking to myself…” This stupid-arrogant American!” My ex set him straight-but not without a few choice words.
One thing I have learned from living overseas and traveling around this country the last couple of years, is how spoiled we are – yes, as Americans. We have the best of everything, yet we bow to fear with every threat of harm to the flesh. God can destroy body & soul, and yet – we fear not the Creator. It doesn’t matter if its war, natural disaster, or disease (remember the fear surrounding HIV/AIDS? How did our lives change then?). We panic. We quickly forget our Christian roots.
For some reason, when stuff like (COVID-19 outbreak) this happens, we behave as if we are caught unaware. We act as if America has become immune to certain acts of God. Evil does not take a break. While most people are hoarding, schools are canceling classes, big events are canceled, we are avoiding public places, law enforcement must still deal with crime, and all those things. And it’s not because of the virus outbreak. It’s because of man’s fallen state. We still have automobile accidents. We still get food poisoning- from poor sanitation practices. There is no antiserum as of yet for this virus, but everything tells us that it can be contained by practicing good hygiene.
Do you know how many people still do not wash their hands when they go to the restroom? People cough and sneeze without regard to the health of others. People have to work when they are sick. Many times, for a variety of reasons, children go to school ill. School districts are cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, desks and such, that have probably never been cleaned, much less disinfected. Our children manage to survive.
Through all this panic, all I can do is my part. That’s all any of us can do. I am trusting in God!
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Where is the faith of this great nation? We hear so much from the media, constant updates, producing ever so much fear and panic. This post is not about COVID-19. It’s about panic, mass hysteria. How can the residents of the most influential and wealthiest nation – a nation with top-notch medicine and technology, sanitation practices, who claim to trust in the Almighty God… lose confidence so quickly? It’s about staying calm in the middle of the storm.
Recently, we drove through Nashville on our way to NC. Driving down I-40, we had a first-hand look at the devastation created by recent tornadoes. They have barely started the cleanup process, but help is on the way. And now these people that have been displaced have to worry about food, water, and toilet paper shortages.
I can accept that the unbeliever may experience fear over the current situation, but followers of Christ…No. I do not expect that of Christians. Christians should be well aware of what must come… if they read their Bible. Luke 21: 9-19
“But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.”
Psalm 91: 1-4 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
History reminds us that we have weathered such storms before – and without modern medicine. I recall hurricane Irma (2017), causing extreme panic all across south Texas. We were almost stranded in Sonora because stores were out of gas. We manage to find one station that had gas, and we had to wait in line for it.
We have to remember that community health is everyone’s responsibility.
We are human. We fear, but the Lord has promised that He would always be with us. We are in this world, but we are not of this world. And we have access to the Creator of all things through prayer.
If this health crisis should warrant anything from the believer – it’s assurance. It’s a wake up call.
“…If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3: 16-18